Congressman Steve Chabot [OH-01] and Congressman Geoff Davis [KY-04] sent the following letter to President Obama regarding his visit to the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area. Noting that the President chose a ready-mix concrete plant as the location for his remarks, Chabot and Davis urged the President to support legislation (H.R. 2681) currently moving through the House of Representatives. If enacted, H.R. 2681 would stop the federal government from imposing excessive regulations on cement manufacturers that threaten thousands of American jobs.
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
We are pleased you are visiting the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area and bringing national attention to the Brent Spence Bridge project, which is vital to America's economy.
Our nation's economy is struggling to create jobs, and our focus in the House throughout the year has been on removing government barriers to job creation that are making it harder to put our nation back to work.
We note that you have chosen a ready-mix concrete plant in Cincinnati as the location for your remarks, and we write today in hopes that you will use your visit today to express your support for legislation moving through the House that would stop the federal government from imposing excessive regulations on cement manufacturers that threaten thousands of American jobs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized new rules that impose costly new burdens on American cement producers. The EPA estimates that adoption of one of the rules alone will require $2.2 billion in new capital costs with an annualized cost of $377 million, shut down up to twelve of the nation's approximately 100 plants, and result in up to an eleven percent drop in U.S. cement production. According to a study conducted by experts at Southern Methodist University: "[S]hould 10 percent of the domestic industry disappear, the direct, indirect and induced job losses would exceed 15,000. And this figure doesn't include possible job losses in the huge construction sector that might occur in the face of higher concrete prices."
Watching from the House gallery during your recent address to a Joint Session of Congress was Spencer Weitman, president of the Alabama-based National Cement company, which was recently forced to suspend construction of a new $350 million cement kiln due to the changes to government regulations proposed by your administration. The project would have created more than 1,500 construction jobs and 20 new full-time operational positions, but was determined too costly and unpredictable as a result of the proposed changes.
We do not want the same thing to happen to cement-related jobs in our region. While some federal regulations are necessary to protect the public and are part of the federal government's constitutional responsibility, there are some regulations that go too far and do more harm than good. This is one such regulation.
The House is scheduled to vote on legislation in the coming weeks that will require the federal government to reissue its recent rules affecting cement manufacturing to ensure that those rules are achievable by real world facilities. The bill -- H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act -- will allow the EPA additional time to develop a more balanced and effective approach that will protect public health and the environment without imposing unnecessary economic harm on American businesses and workers.
Enactment of this legislation will save thousands of American jobs. We ask that you address this issue during your visit to the Tri-State area and call on legislators in both chambers of Congress to pass the bill.
Steve Chabot Geoff Davis
Member of Congress Member of Congress